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N. Korea's words are too rude to be seen as official stance on S. Korea: Unification Ministry Updated: 2019-08-16 16:34:27 KST

An official at South Korea's Blue House said Friday that North Korea's statement does not help build ties, and that if the North has an issue it should come to the table for talks, as President Moon Jae-in said in his speech the day before.

Speaking to reporters, the official once again explained that Seoul's joint military exercise with Washington is not directed at the North, but is part of preparing for the transfer of wartime operational control.

The North's statement came through its Korean Central News Agency.
The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country wrote on Friday that President Moon talked about "dialogue atmosphere" in his speech at the same time Seoul is holding military exercises with Washington.
It called President Moon 'impudent," and said the South should not think it'll be joining talks with the North and U.S. once the drills are over.
The North, it said, has no intention of talking with the South and has nothing to discuss with it anyway.

South Korea's Unification Ministry went a little further, saying the statement was disrespectful.

Speaking to reporters Friday, an official expressed great regret that Pyeongyang had criticized Seoul in that way, especially a day after Korea's most joyful occasion, Liberation Day.

Such comments, he said, are not in line with the spirit of the Pamunjeom and Pyeongyang Declarations, and that for the two Koreas to keep working for a peaceful peninsula, there needs to be a degree of mutual respect.

As for the North rejecting any talks with the South, the official said Seoul will not be swayed but will keep working steadily based on their declarations and agreements.

He said the North's comments were too rude to be seen as an official point of view, and that South Korea will not be responding directly.

But a North Korea expert says the message was actually intended for the U.S.

"With the working-level talks with the U.S. coming up, this is leverage for the North to get security assurances. The U.S. had promised the North back at the Singapore summit that it would stop the joint military exercises, and the drills are also one of the North's main security concerns. By complaining about them repeatedly, the North is asking for a complete security guarantee in exchange for its complete denuclearization."

Through it's harsh rhetoric, the expert said, the North is criticizing the U.S. as well.
Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.
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